Old China Hands lunch 7 June 2024

Good attendance

Despite the heavy rain the Old China Hands lunch 7 June 2024 scored a total of 34 attendants, old friends and new faces. As usual lively chat over good food.

See here the impressive menu, see most of the dishes in the pictures:

  • Russian egg salad OR salad Niçoise OR fresh daily soup
  • pork piccata Provencal style served with grilled tomato and pan fried potatoes OR thin sliced beef tenderloin with wine merchant sauce served with market vegetables and Belgian frites OR pan fried snapper with mustard sauce served with daily vegetables and mashed potatoes
  • daily dessert

Included: one drink and coffee or tea.

Focus of the month

The focus is this time the incredible performance of the Morel team during the Official Opening of the New Belgian Embassy on 1 June.
The team: Renaat, me, Gordon, Miriam, Corinne and Sophie.

From 1 pm till late night we served Belgian fries in the afternoon to some 2,000 people and Belgian fries with Belgian Beef Stew and Pork Meat Balls in the evening to some 500 people.
We served 2,500 people using 252 Kg of fries, many liters of ketchup, mayonnaise and sauce andalouse. That makes like 100 g of fries per portion.
Sauce andalouse is a Belgian condiment commonly served with Belgian fries. The sauce is also popular and widely used throughout France and Luxembourg. It consists of mayonnaise, tomato paste, and peppers, such as pimientos or roasted bell peppers.

We were exhausted but it was a great and successful experience. Our team while small was extremely efficient!

Belgian Beer in Beijing is updated

Updated list and pics

My Page of Belgian Beer in Beijing is updated, more pics and the list now counts 220 different beer bottles.

Morel’s Restaurant and Café

We can say that Morel’s is our “stamcafé” in Beijing. Besides having great food it is also the place for friends to meet, chat and drink.
“Stamcafé” can be translated as “favorite bar or pub / habitual hound” and “Stammtisch” in German.
Elke Vlaming zou verplicht een stamcafé moeten hebben”: “Each Flemish person should forcibly have a stamcafé”

An interesting article about our beer culture: “5 September 2018 – Beer-mad Belgium moves to save historic drinking dens” – China Daily.
“Belgians are famous for taking their beer seriously, but authorities are now moving to preserve some of the historic cafes where drinkers have been quaffing since the early 20th century.
In the heart of the village of Alsemberg, in the Dutch-speaking Flemish Brabant region, south of Brussels, the PastaCafe is one of those that has best kept its 1920s and 1930s decor.”

With my friend Renaat Morel we have been trying out Orval, Gouden Carolus and Westvleteren. And many more.

Old China Hands lunch 3 May 2024


Once again our Old China Hands lunch 3 May 2024 was right in the middle of a holiday week, for Labor Day. Many people on travel or busy with family. Anyway we still had a grand total of 26 and a very lively lunch.

Food was great as usual, see the menu for our group by Morel’s Restaurant:

  • sliced smoked salmon stuffed with seafood and garden greens OR Morel’s chef salad (ham, blue cheese, and pan-fried chicken on lettuce) OR poached eggs with wine merchant sauce OR Flemish tomato vegetable soup
  • thin sliced tenderloin with black pepper sauce served with vegetable and new potatoes OR fricandeau of beef served with hot cherry and mashed potatoes OR red snapper Mediterranean style served with daily vegetable and mashed potatoes
  • daily dessert (île flottante)
  • coffee or tea

I had the poached eggs, soooo delicious!


Our Dutch friend Khee Liang celebrated his birthday with his extended family at another table but came over to receive the best wishes of all of us. According to Dutch traditions he distributed the famous sweet Rademakers Hopjes to us.

Hopjes are a type of Dutch sweets with a slight coffee and caramel flavor that originated in the 18th century. The hopje is named after Baron Hendrik Hop. The link tells the whole story.
The following lunch is planned for Friday 7 June 2024.

Tamil New Year in Beijing celebration

Tamil community

On 14 April 2024 my friend Raja invited me to join the Tamil New Year in Beijing celebration.
Location was Hotel Mercure close to Ritan Park.
There are currently estimated to be at least one-hundred million Tamil people spread across distant seas, living in more than 70 different countries and islands. Among these are many thousands living in various parts of the world as refugees and asylum seekers.
More about the Tamil diaspora here.
See here the Tamil population by nation.
There are about 300,000 Tamils in the UK, of whom 200,000 are Sri Lankan while the rest are from India, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and other countries.

Discovering Tamil culture

The Tamil community showed an love for their culture by performing dance, singing, video clips, and praying. And of course Indian food. If the performances were not so “professional”, all showed unbridled enthusiasm.
When abroad it is interesting to observe how different expat communities respect and celebrate their country’s culture. My take on Belgians abroad: we mostly shine by being very low key…

Happy to meet some of my friends of our Old China Hands Lunch.

Rotary Club of Beijing celebration

100 years Rotary Club of Beijing

The report by Rtn Helen gives a nice overview of a Rotary Club of Beijing celebration.
The Rotary Club of Beijing celebrated a milestone in history, a 100 years anniversary. 200 people attended what proved to be a magnificent event at the Kempinski Hotel Beijing, on Saturday April 20, 2024.
It was a night to be remembered in so many ways. Rotarians, their families and friends were entertained with fine food, fine wine and fine music and from the photos taken on the evening, it is obvious that everyone thoroughly enjoyed what was laid on.
Beijing Rotarian President Rene Schmitt and his team left no stone unturned in ensuring everyone‘s expectations were met.

The dance floor was always the epicenter of the evening’s activities, with the choice of classical, live band and DJ music.
Prior to this, the Kempinski Hotel laid on a fine 4 course meal followed by the cutting of the 100 year celebratory cake.
And to cater for the collectors and art lovers, there was a host of objet d’art items donated by members and friends for both the silent auction and the raffle.
The proceeds of the evening reflected the generous nature of the guests and was donated to the Beijing Club’s chosen charity, funding Hypospadias Surgery for children.
It only remains to be said that the spirit of Rotary was found to be in every corner of the room on the night and it was a night to be remembered by all those that were fortunate enough to be present in celebrating the Beijing Club’s 100 year anniversary.

UWEE tables and support

Once again the UWEE Group (Union of Western and Eastern Education) supported the event, with two tables and entertainment.
We welcomed representatives from the embassies of Belgium, Luxembourg, Philippines, Moldova, Bahamas, Solomon Islands, South Pacific Islands, AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) along with other Chinese and foreign VIPs.
Jane from UWEE interviewed some of our guests.

UWEE also brought some special entertainment. The 9-year old twins (sons of the CEO of UWEE) played piano and Max, a primary school student, 11 years old, played the accordion.
They joined the impressive musical performances of the other musicians.
The evening was a real success, with speeches from Rene, our Club’s President,  the Hebei Children’s Hospital, our partner for the Gift of Life and hypospadias.
The raffle and silent auction brought a lot of excitement, many lucky winners!

An evening of pictures, mingling and history

The ballroom was filled with excitement, people going around, meeting old and new friends, taking pictures, and dancing.

And yes, the food was great and so was the wine – thanks to our sponsors!
The guests received a short introduction to the history of our club.

For the full history, see it here, “100 years Rotary Club of Beijing”.
It was a challenge to select the pictures to publish. Sorry for all the nice pics I could not post!